Canakya, aka: Cāṇakya; 4 Definition(s)


Canakya means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

Alternative spellings of this word include Chanakya.

In Hinduism


[Canakya in Purana glossaries]

Cāṇakya (चाणक्य).—(KAUṬILYA). The famous author of "Arthaśāstra" a treatise on political economy.

Eastern and western scholars have made exhaustive researches on this intellectual giant of ancient India, Cāṇakya. But, nothing definite has yet been established about his time or life. Indians have accepted as a fact the traditional legend that he was a minister of Candragupta, the founder of the Maurya dynasty. It is also firmly believed that it was this mighty intellect of a brahmin who made Candragupta a powerful emperor and steered the ship of his state. The phrase 'Cāṇakya’s kuṭilanīti' (crooked tactics) has become proverbial. Some scholars hold the opinion that he came to be called 'Kauṭilya' because of his Kuṭila (crooked) tactics; but evidence to establish this view-point is yet to be adduced. (See full article at Story of Cāṇakya from the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani)

(Source): Puranic Encyclopaedia

Cāṇakya (चाणक्य).—A Rājarṣi who attained siddhi in śukla tīrtham of the Narmadā.*

  • * Matsya-purāṇa 192. 14.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purana book cover
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Katha (narrative stories)

[Canakya in Katha glossaries]

Cāṇakya (चाणक्य) is the name of a Brāhman, equal in ability to Bṛhaspati, who became the prime minister of Candragupta’s, according to the Kathāsaritsāgara, chapter 5.

The Kathāsaritsāgara (‘ocean of streams of story’), mentioning Cāṇakya, is a famous Sanskrit epic story revolving around prince Naravāhanadatta and his quest to become the emperor of the vidyādharas (celestial beings). The work is said to have been an adaptation of Guṇāḍhya’s Bṛhatkathā consisting of 100,000 verses, which in turn is part of a larger work containing 700,000 verses.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Kathāsaritsāgara
Katha book cover
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Katha (कथा, kathā) refers to narrative Sanskrit literature often inspired from epic legendry (itihasa) and poetry (mahākāvya). Some Kathas reflect socio-political instructions for the King while others remind the reader of important historical event and exploits of the Gods, Heroes and Sages.

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Languages of India and abroad

Sanskrit-English dictionary

[Canakya in Sanskrit glossaries]

Cāṇakya (चाणक्य).—Name of a celebrated writer on civil polity; also known as विष्णुगुप्त, कौटिल्य (viṣṇugupta, kauṭilya); see कौटिल्य (kauṭilya).

Derivable forms: cāṇakyaḥ (चाणक्यः).

(Source): DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
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Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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